Motion 2: Animal Welfare
- Conference notes with disgust the continuation of practices such as hunting of foxes and deer, and hare-coursing.
- Conference calls for a ban on all hunting of mammals with dogs.
- Conference further calls for the tough enforcement of the law against activities such as badger-baiting.
Proposer, Jayne Dunlop, said:
Any form of hunting of mammals with dogs is unnecessary, is cruel and can only be deemed a ‘sport’ by those with a warped mind. In fact, research has shown that there are links between cruelty to animals and violence towards humans.
The humanitarian Dr Albert Schwietzer said: “Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives.”
Some researchers reckon that cruelty to animals can be the first sign of a violent pathology that includes human victims. Personally I feel that once someone has crossed the line of inflicting pain on an animal then it is not so difficult to inflict pain on another person. The FBI treats this seriously and has recorded a number of incidents where violent criminals abused animals in their childhood or had a fascination with cruelty to animals. In the Columbine High School killings, the students who committed the murders had boasted to friends about having mutilated animals. Such findings highlight a worrying link between violence towards animals and people.
We should not take the issue of hunting with dogs lightly, it is unnecessary and inflicts needless suffering on animals. It also may be a precursor to violence towards humans. We should be working towards gaining respect for life, whether human, deer, hare, fox or badger and as a sign that we mean business I would ask Conference to support this motion.
Seconder, Councillor Geraldine Rice, said:
In seconding this motion I call on you ladies and gentlemen to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves; animals that have to suffer and die in the most gruesome circumstances.
We were all aghast at the sight of a badger being torn to shreds on a television newscast, and a recent survey revealed that 84% of people in Northern Ireland regard hare coursing as cruel, 73% regard hare coursing as immoral and want to see an end to it. But what we haven’t seen are the dogs bred to kill. Fighting for their life in the ring, many are torn to death by the ravages of the dog they are set up against – this is for the pleasure of mindless individuals who call this sport.
I call on all of you here to do what you can in the lobbing for the protection of animals. The Environment Minister is currently conducting a review of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) 1985 order, which protects wild animals, birds and plants, and we must have our voices heard to ensure the protection permanently for the Irish hare.